The road to Brighton and beyond  

This tour the 30 Anniversary, changed its setlist 3 times in its earliest stage, not a lot but any change, even one song, changes everything. 'Setlist time' is about as important as it gets. A set can stand or fall on its construction. By Manchester it had settled down, and carried on pretty much the same alongside the addition of 'World Service' into the encores.
It had became apparent to me and the band that these dates were not the usual SOD sets/gigs but a 'show'.
In the larger venues it really worked well. It still worked in the smaller ones albeit with less room to manoeuvre. In reality it was a concert hall set.

The 30 year tour was beset with a few exceptional situations. Some will remain unsaid as is safest policy, leaving out the very mad and the antics of....
 
Nottingham was 'Rescue Rooms'...... Notts has always been a personal favourite of mine. I have a couple of friends there that I go back with decades. Theres always something of an atmosphere here, kind of wild as if anything could happen.....sometimes it does........On a previous excursion here I had the Police leave me for dead in my hotel room, unconscious and fully clothed on a bed, as was not considered worth carrying to a Police Station after a nights gambling and severe drinking....its just one of them towns....just don't ask what happened, its even more bizarre than it sounds..... The venue was really full and the audience I think got the show/setlist. No complaints from the stage or the floor. Notts knows how to have fun....On to...
 
Bedford 'Esquires' was a packed house, and a surprise happened while we were on stage....a guy stripped off and was attempting to do a wiggle (I personally have no idea!) dance right next to Adrian while he played solos.....the guy was beaming and very proud of himself as he danced away his lost youth and sanity. He was fairly quickly escorted off stage back to 'normality'. I was told he attempted to again take his clothes off at the bar. This proved to be a bridge too far and was shown that thing with handles on, pronto.

You would think a town such as Darwen would be fairly peaceful and sedate wouldn't you? Do not trust first impressions.....beneath its surface lies a certain restlessness that breaks open and there can be a kick off. The 'Darwen Library Theatre' itself is a great venue...its seated to the tune of over some 200 people plus. It always works out at the end that people get up and dance. Which for a band is great as is an immediate response. There was a certain element in the audience that took it one step further and decided to spit at Craig our bass player. This caused some little consternation..... to be honest people spitting at people is just plain stupid and disgusting by anyones measure. In future, patrons please refrain from spitting and strenuous physical activities..... If at all possible. Thankyou.      Lets now go to 'Lovely Wolverhampton...' As the song goes.....  The venue being 'The Slade Rooms'.....Slade for them as can remember were a brilliant rockin band. I saw them but once but was incredibly impressed. Jimmy Lee the bass player stood atop a P.A. Stack playing his fiddle while Slade rocked on below him. Their early album 'Play It Loud' I rank as one of my all time favourites. The songwriting is genius. Backstage there was plenty of photos round the walls of them in their hayday. Platform boots, skinhead haircuts and old mens clothes. Somehow they looked menacing in some of them, not entirely cuddly but, to me that was their charm somehow......our show that night was a good one and a warm reception from the good burghers of Wolvo. 'Ta very much' as Noddy sometimes said......From the heart of the Black Country we drove down to port out starboard home Cambridge, 'The Junction'. Well....not entirely.... Anyway, this venue was large with an even larger stage. Spear were by this point of the tour, flying. Our man 'Duds' stood firm and performed his stage duties admirably. Thankyou Duds! The soundman got it completely right and spun tons of delays on my voice. A great level of professionalism was demonstrated by the soundman and monitorman. Believe me, stuff like this helps and does really count in the real world. Cheers Gents.   Our next port of call took in Norwich at 'The Waterfront'. The part we played was the upstairs venue and was completely packed. Have to say, the reception we got I hope mirrored the performance up on stage. A cracking night all round!       Then it was back down to London to the 'Islington Academy'....a place I personally have played many times. This nights show had more people come to it than for several years. On this occasion we had an 'up for it' crowd. This gave us on stage a great gee up! A storming set! Sometimes London audiences can be simply a 'watching audience', but this night they had fun, so we had fun! Audiences really can give you the lift. Cheers London!  ......Its always a scramble to get out of London if you are moving on to play another date, and this was no exception.....nevertheless I got a ride in a Land Rover down to jolly old Pompey! In fact I was there earlier than anyone else.....meandering about the great and many drinking holes that are situated along its friendly streets, abstaining of course now I'm a Warfarin junkie.....this show was at the 'Wedgewood Rooms'...again somewhere I have played many times previous......Portsmouth, I have always found friendly and this night was no exception....there were several people dressed up as skeletons in the crowd...well, it was All Hallows Eve. This was a fun sight to look out on.....there was also a lady at the front being held up by the metal barrier.....alkohol had got the better of her possibly, that or she was deep in memory being jostled by the shouting and dancing crowd....I tried vainly to get her attention and nod as if to get out of the way of being damaged by the revellers but alas, I doubt she could see aught but her metal friend holding her up.....right at the end she looked up and smiled and then swayed out towards the door.....hope she made it home ok on the jolly liquor soaked streets of Pompey.....cheers skeleton people too, you made me smile!  Now all that remained was the last night of the tour in Brighton..... It was to be at the venue so named 'The Haunt'.....I had several old pals turn up and was good to see their friendly faces......I also had a very old friend, Adrian Harvey play the opener with his band 'The Stuntmen'.....The very lovely Saffron Sprackling from 'Republika' was there with pals, as was Mick Havershaw Robinson from the radio station 'Radio Reverb'..... The show was a good one, to a full house, but this was the night the great storm arrived so, especial thanks to all those brave souls who came out that last night for the Spear! Thanking you.
 
As a tour, the Spear 30 Years Tour really worked, and promised positive for the future of Spear.
At every occasion when I went out front and met people afterwards, I was overwhelmed with the affection/love people had for the music which Spear makes. Music is memory. Not just the classic stuff from the 80s but more recent albums, which for me is healthy, as I hope to continue to write songs and record albums.
 
In the tour set was one new song, 'Falling Down'. This was met favourably thruout the tour....
Everything else, predating the last album 'Omega Point', which is now 5 years old unbelievably.

To ALL those who came to these shows, I, Ade, Craig and Mike, thank you. You made it as good as it was! An exceptional tour! Thanks must go also to the backroom boys (and WAGS) who worked so hard with the logistics and goodwill all round. 

BACK TO THE FUTURE! 
THIS COMING WEEKEND I am really looking forward to a couple of aKoustiK outings, one in London on Friday evening supporting The March Violets  and then on to Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! for full set I have specially put togther...........................
KIRK BRANDON aKoustiK
NOVEMBER

Fri 22nd LONDON o2 Academy Islington
TIX :
http://tinyurl.com/pjjvyjz
Sun 24th LEEDS New Roscoe
TIX :
http://tinyurl.com/neu7o6s

AND THEN WE have 5 THEATRE OF HATE SHOWS in December.
Its rare that TOH Re Union shows happen but when they do, that very special chemistry is in evidence. I look forward to them immensely......
See you out there in the future!
THEATRE OF HATE
DECEMBER 2013

Tue 10TH BRISTOL The Fleece
0117 929 9008 
http://tinyurl.com/pmeogpq
Wed 11th York Fibbers
01904 651250
http://tinyurl.com/qxkb58z
Thur 12th STOCKTON ON TEES Georgian Theatre
01642 674115
http://tinyurl.com/phe286g
Fri 13th LONDON The Roundhouse
0844 482 8008
http://tinyurl.com/nnadxjx
Sat 14th BIRMINGHAM The Institute
0121 6430428
http://tinyurl.com/oatkao3


Communication Ends.                                    Kirk Brandon

Sheffield & Leeds Rock 

.....well dear fiends...here is part two of the tour bloggarama! Now it came to pass, Spear turned up in Sheffield, 'Greystokes' to be precise. It was sold out well in advance I had been told, so it promised to be a good nite. It turned out to be a sweatbox. I put on my vintage 1950s shirt and black jeans and at end of show was as if had hauled myself out of a swimming pool...lost a pound or two that nite. The packed crowd were an appreciative crowd and listened throughout. Only a few people dancing. To state the obvious, it was so hot they couldn't do anything else. 
We were treated most cordially by the staff and coffee and biscuits were served, I can also recommend wholeheartedly the house steak pies by the way.....nosh on dudes!.....so thankyou Greystokes. 
All the lads in the band have contracted some lurgy lurgy bar myself. This is unusual as it normally gets me by day 3, so, thankyou Allah.
It was a long scenic drive to the mighty town of Leeds. Although not sold out, it was the biggest crowd of the tour so far. Its no secret that on bass in Spear we have Leeds and The Missions own Craig Adams who on this night played with opening act The Expelaires for a song or two. An old support band called Danse Society were next up, and their whole sound took me back mentally to that Post Punk period which is now referred to in TV documentaries and used in crime shows occasionally, irreverently. Its my belief it was an extremely important time and today as yet, largely ignored. Enjoyable listening I'd say. 
Spear took the stage and it turned out to be a very appreciative crowd wall to wall. I think people came to listen, is my take on it. I hope we didn't disappoint. In the encores we played 'Liberator' and this is where it got a bit lively down the front. There were 2 or 3 women enjoying getting thrown about which is what their hearts desire told them to do I'm guessing.
Promoter John Keenan was there and waxing jolly about all things after the show. Always a pleasure to see his jolly boatrace.
We stayed at The Discovery Inn, and I have to say it was the longest trek I have ever had to do in any hotel, ever, to my room. Perhaps it should be part of an 'Ironman' contest....swim, bike, run, walk round stupid hotel. We live and learn.
I didn't repeat my Scottish experience and throw myself over fridges and glasses damaging myself so, on the face of it, Sheffield and Leeds was a success

30 Years Anniversary Tour Update........15th October 2013. 

The opening nite in Cardiff was an excellent opener for us the band. Rockin audience!
I spent an hour and a half looking for sweatbands to no avail before the shows start. Every single person I spoke to didn't come from Cardiff. I guess every city is like this now, so i shouldn't be surprised.
I was told the greatest quote of the tour on day 1..... A distraught Welsh girl said ' I went to live in San Fran for a couple of decades...I came back here, and woke up in a nightmare!' She was entirely serious. Waking up in X Factor, Cameron, Lottery, Corporate Society, Game Show TV land isn't much fun I agreed. Without being political, this island is not the island any of us recall.
Then on up for our 'World tour of Scotland'! Opening in old favourite Glasgow venue 'King Tuts Wah Wah Hut'....our guitarist Adrians birthday, which had a proper Spear celebration what with Liam buying 4 poppers which he aimed at Ades head as he sat there aftershow with his snakebite. I had earlier, just before show had a go at at jumping on one of the sofas....I didn't get far because as by the end of jump one I was catapulted up and over the fridge gouging my rump on the fridges edge, cutting myself on plates and crockery which I smashed, and further bruising upon landing. Not my best idea to date. Muppet springs to mind. Ah well...at least Ade had a great birthday as he sat there sweat soaked with a round of applause and cheers and the smell of gunpowder.
Aberdeen was sold out and a great shame for all the people who couldn't get in. I have a great fondness for the place after Liam booked us in to share rooms with crack hookers many years ago. Aberdeen is always a great up for it audience and that nite was no disappointment! Cheers Aberdeen!
Edinburgh was 'Electric Circus' .......a really nice club which Spear doesn't really deserve on account of being on the 'Zest Agency'.... A now bankrupt agency that is part of the comedy circuit which books artistes into hell holes only...its a whole package deal...a crate of Carling and a banana you can shove up your arse impromptu stylee.......etc etc etc... Edinburgh was a great nite.
Then to the Toon we went! 'The Cluny', which I had played once before. Here the world of bad spirits turned up that follow me around. My mike packed up completely, broken strings and then to finish me off, my Marshall ' Bluesbreaker' died suddenly of Beri Beri. It couldn't be persuaded to come back to life. I did an impromptu version of 'Pumpkin Man' while Vince tried to restart it to life. But failed.
The next show was Manchester. At a club none of us had ever been to before, 'The Ruby Lounge'. It was a pretty good venue and was full by the time we went on. It had the strange addition of a nice comfortable Mrs Mills carpet all over the stage. This deadened the stage and made it all sound muffled as if you were doing a two stretch in solitary in Dartmoor. Even from where I stood, which is next to him, Adrian, I couldn't hear a note he played. As per usual, all I ever hear is the crash of cymbals adding to my tinitus. Drummers....what is their problem?!?!
Then day off.........
We boarded a Sea Cat at Holyhead and sailed to Ireland. We were kept waiting for several hours at the club until a skinny burnt out Frenchman who had a white beard and long white locks turned up. He immediately shouted at Shaggy not to put his drums on the stage hysterically. It was 'his' stage' and no one could touch it. There was a debate as to what he was called....everyone said 'Gandalf'...I suggested 'Saruman'..... Nevertheless, credit where its due, the sound out front I was reliably informed was excellent.
Speaking in French and English randomly he was really difficult to decipher from the back of the club........Half an hour before we went on stage there was no one there, then, suddenly it filled up. I have to say the 'Dubs' are a brilliant audience. I got a lot of pleasure out of playing to a really 'up' audience. A lot of good feeling went around that room and audience while we played, and in conversations afterwards. Cheers Dublin!
We left Dublin Port in the early afternoon the following day and sailed back to Ingoland......next up was Crewe? The spiritual home of Westworld! Again a great nite with a very musical set. In fact the most musical set of the tour. It being a sunday it was to be presumed was a 'school nite' so people were content to just drink and listen as opposed to trying to kill and strangle each other in the mosh pit with their bare hands and teef.
The only down part to all this is that the day before the tour started I ripped a muscle in my calf. But, I will continue!!  Heres to Sheffield today and the mighty Leeds the day after!
 
 
Communication Ends.                                    Kirk Brandon
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